A church in South Africa, which is a synod of the NGK, has voted in favour of ordaining gay ministers and allowing gay civil unions.
The church is the very first in Africa to recognise gay marriage, voting in favour by 64% for acknowledging civil unions. For the moment, they are reserving the word “marriage” for straight couples, but even so – this is a huge move.
O-blog-dee-o-blog-da blogger Melanie Nathan had this to say: “As a South African who grew up knowing a lot about this Church and its impact on South Africa, during the Apartheid era, understanding everything it stood for, in a million years I would not have imagined this day being possible. I hope it stands as worldwide example of an evolution toward progress and how faith can and should embrace all.”
The church is still going to leave actual policy to the different regional church groups in South Africa, which essentially means that gay ministers and gay marriages may still be banned in the provinces.
Reverend Eccelessia de Lange, who was fired for marrying her partner, spoke to Melanie and called it an “extraordinary decision”.
“It is at a time like this that we also remember the pain the church has caused,” she continued, “for those who have lost their lives, left the church, families that have been torn apart and relationships that have been broken. I pray that this decision will set the course for other denominations to follow and for healing and reconciliation to take place.”
Nelis Janse van Rensburg, Dutch Reform Church moderator, discussed this with South African news station eNCA: “Church councils and congregations are like families. They will eventually decide how they will go about it. They know the context, they know the situation, they know about the faith of these people, and so they can decide on that.”